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The abuses and accidents of the confinements fill the patience of the Chinese

A man confronts a policeman during a vigil for the victims of the covid, this Monday in Hong Kong. / JEROME FAVRE

Added to the deadly fire in Xinjiang, the trigger for the protests, is a long list of collateral victims and the weariness of the population

With the protests against the Covid 0 policy, the Chinese regime is facing its worst wave of public outrage since the 1989 uprising that ended with the infamous Tiananmen massacre. Another very different thing is that they end up causing a movement as massive as that one. The reason is simple: the authorities have already begun the repression against the protesters who dared to take to the streets over the weekend and shielded the places where they congregated with a strong police presence. Regardless of how far the protests go, what is clear is that exhaustion has finally broken out due to the restrictions and confinements of Covid 0, which is sinking the economy and preventing life from returning to normal.

The trigger was the deadly fire last Thursday in a confined building in Urumqi, capital of the Muslim region of Xinjiang, which has been closed for more than three months due to an outbreak of the coronavirus. The ten who died from the fire, which could be more, perished burned without being able to leave their houses due to the bars installed between floors and due to the delay in arriving by the firefighters, whose trucks could not cross the barriers because the streets were cut off by the lockdown.

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The tragedy has exhausted the almost infinite patience of the Chinese, who have been suffering from restrictions and have been unable to travel for more than two years, neither abroad nor sometimes within their own country, while they see how the rest of the world has returned to normality. Particularly hurtful is the soccer World Cup in Qatar, which has forced state television to avoid close-ups of the crowded stands without a mask.

But that is not the worst, but the accumulation of abuses and collateral tragedies that the draconian strategy of Covid 0 is causing. Other accidents are added to the fire in Xinjiang. The most serious of these took place in September in the southern province of Guizhou, where a quarantine bus carrying 47 people to an isolation center 250 kilometers from their homes overturned at dawn on a mountain road. Twenty-seven passengers died, sparking a barrage of criticism on social media despite the censorship.

Earlier this month, a three-year-old boy died of gas poisoning after his father was unable to get him to hospital in time due to checks at the lockdown in Lanzhou, the capital of eastern Gansu province. In Shanghai, whose 25 million inhabitants were confined during the months of April and May between hardships due to lack of food, to its 558 deaths from Covid, we must add an indeterminate number of collateral victims due to suicides, interrupted medical treatments and even patients who They died because they did not have a negative PCR test to enter a hospital.


The cases that caused the most indignation were that of a nurse, who died of an asthma attack at the gates of a hospital that did not allow her access, and that of the mother of a well-known Taiwanese economist, Larry Hsien, because her PCR was delayed. more than four hours and was unable to receive the injection he needed for his kidney problems. In January, during the Xi’an lockdown, a pregnant woman lost her baby at the hospital gates because she did not have her health QR code in green.

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All these cases, together with the internment in isolation camps in inhumane conditions and movement restrictions, have broken the social contract that the Chinese had with the Communist Party regime. In exchange for their freedom and lack of democracy, they enjoyed stability and prosperity, but the economy is sinking because, according to the latest report from the consulting firm Nomura, 20% of GDP is confined and will reach 30% in the coming weeks.

Fed up with the restrictions, thousands of people have come out to protest in numerous cities, from Beijing to Guangzhou via Shanghai and Wuhan, and university students have rebelled against the lockdowns on their campuses. Among their proclamations, they have called for freedom and to the end of the Communist Party and the resignation of President Xi Jinping. Such a challenge is historic due to the “Orwellian” control of the Chinese regime, which is tightening security to stem the protests but faces its biggest challenge since Tiananmen.

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